Using Incorrect Gender Pronouns is NOT Punishable; U of M Decides

In July of 2018, the University of Minnesota began drafting a policy related to gender identity and pronouns. It would have made calling someone by the wrong pronoun (for instance, "he" instead of "she," or "she" instead of "they") a punishable -- even fireable -- offense.

This policy was “one of the most ambitious of its kind in the country,” as the Star Tribune put it . Queer and trans advocates in the student body felt like they finally had “leveraging power” to stand up to professors who refused to call them by their preferred names and pronouns.

The immediate, nervous question from critics was this: Does that mean if you slip up and inadvertently call someone by the wrong pronouns you could automatically get written up?

The answer: No, of course not.

“We recognize that some of the expectations set forth in the policy are new concepts that will require education and learning, and that misuse of pronouns is often unintentional and not malicious,” an FAQ about the policy released in January says. If you messed up, it would “not result in discipline.”

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